In Certain Places have collaborated with the architecture practice, Research Design and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery to create a new temporary architectural intervention for the market square in Preston.
The Harris Flights is a temporary staircase which will allow visitors to walk from the Flag Market to the first floor of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery for the first time. The temporary staircase will extend the existing exterior stairs, which currently reach only to the first floor of the museum.
This temporary architectural intervention and will make a physical connection between the gallery and the square, taking an audience directly into the heart of the Museum, via the ‘front door’.
As well as encouraging more people to visit the Museum, Harris Flights will also provide a temporary performance space. The staircase will become a platform for professional performers and community group’s students and staff to display their talents to an audience in the market square, while also acting as a stadium from which to view performances.
The School of Art, Design and Performance, and the wider UCLan community have worked alongside Preston City Council and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery to create a programme of events, which will activate the museum and market square at different times of day. It is hoped the event will attract visitors from within and outside Preston and will transform the square into a cultural destination: a place to meet, hangs out, perform and participate. UCLan will hold 17 events during the four weeks as part of the Harris Flights project alongside other live performances, art installations, workshops and talks.
The project focuses on the relationship between the front of the building and the market square. Standing in the square, an audience can seem to be architecturally divorced from the interior of the museum. There has often been debate locally about the navigation of the building where the entrance is and whether the original design was to include steps. This is coupled with a desire to have access to the podium, and to share the opportunity to see Preston from the viewpoint of the privileged few.
The temporary staircase is inspired by history and makes reference to the Konzerthaus Concert Hall in Berlin, which is said to have influenced architect James Hibbert’s design for The Harris Museum and Art Gallery.
The designs differ due to the decision not to construct a set of front steps directly from the market square, but to have two entrances from either sides of the building. This choice has a strong reference to the National Gallery in London, where a podium replaces the steps, with the entrance to the side.For further information The Harris Flights project please visit: From out the White Cube or the Harris Museum website.